Equinix today announced that its total investment in Ireland now surpasses €18.5 million with the launch of Equinix Cloud Exchange. The advanced interconnection solution will provide customers with direct access to the biggest global cloud service providers, including Microsoft Azure and Office 365.

The service is specifically designed for businesses that need access to multiple cloud service providers (CSPs). Equinix Cloud Exchange allows enterprises to mix and match each nuanced digital requirement with the CSP that best caters to it.

Equinix has continued to see strong demand for cloud connectivity — year-on-year growth of Equinix Cloud Exchange in markets where it already has a presence, more than doubled from 2015 to 2016. Through its latest investment in the Irish market, Equinix aims to better serve those cloud demands in Ireland also.

Following its acquisition of TelecityGroup in 2016, the company has invested more than €18.5 million in expanding and improving its Irish data centre sites and rolling out more advanced business solutions, such as Equinix Cloud Exchange, to better meet the needs of its Irish customers.

Equinix data centres house a growing cloud ecosystem of over 500 CSPs and SaaS solutions globally. The global Equinix Cloud Exchange platform offers direct, private connections to leading CSPs, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, IBM SoftLayer, Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute and Office 365, Oracle Cloud and Salesforce. Through Microsoft, Irish customers will gain from a dedicated, high-throughput network connection between Microsoft Azure data centres and their own on-premise IT environments.

By eliminating the need to build separate connections with each individual CSP, Equinix Cloud Exchange enables greater speed to market and scalability. The technology behind the Cloud Exchange makes it possible to interconnect with multiple cloud services in near real time.

Bypassing the public internet, the solution offers faster private cloud connectivity that removes the security and time concerns that many businesses have when considering cloud adoption. Testing by Equinix has found that businesses can increase data throughput by up to 147% when using Cloud Exchange, as opposed to public internet connections.

Maurice Mortell, managing director for Ireland and emerging markets, Equinix, said: “Equinix Cloud Exchange will help Irish and Irish-based businesses better navigate their digital journey. Most of the bigger businesses in Ireland are now either adopting cloud, or seriously contemplating it. This is a natural next step for those businesses in their digital transformation. Equinix Cloud Exchange provides the flexibility, access, security and speed to market that businesses in Ireland need to achieve a stronger competitive advantage.”

“We expect the addition of Equinix Cloud Exchange reinforce Ireland’s place among the top internet economies in the world and help us to capture a greater share of the foreign direct investment market. Ireland is already viewed as an attractive location for data hosting and by offering this kind of connectivity, we are adding to that story.”

Ross Ortega, partner program manager, Azure Networking, Microsoft Corp, said: “We are pleased to see Equinix’s commitment to Microsoft ExpressRoute as it expands Equinix Cloud Exchange into new markets. Our continued collaboration gives customers seamless, automated, real-time provisioning capabilities and tools to allow them to adopt Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365.”

James Eibisch, research director, IDC, said: “The Irish cloud market is growing slightly faster than the European market as a whole. There has been an enormous amount of investment in cloud in Ireland resulting in a great level of supply for such a relatively small market. The uptake of cloud and the evolution to multi-cloud will have a knock-on effect on the economy and help propel it towards the digital age.”

Since the arrival of Equinix in Ireland last year, businesses with data hosted in Ireland have been able to interconnect with global enterprises in more than 41 markets using Equinix’s ultra-high-speed interconnection platform. As those businesses increasingly rely on technology to achieve their business goals, their cloud requirements are evolving and growing. IDC estimates that Irish cloud adoption will grow by 22% CAGR from 2015 to 2020 – higher than the average growth rate in the European cloud market.